SHAFAQNA -Â More than 200 Palestinians from the West Bank and Gaza will be moving to Qatar afterÂ Ramadan to work as teachers within the emirate.
Qatar faces a shortage of teachers and plans to hire some 1,500 teachers from throughoutÂ Arab world. The new Palestinian teachersÂ benefit from a deal struck in late 2013Â between Qatar and Palestinian Prime MinisterÂ Rami Hamdallah allowingÂ some 20,000 PalestiniansÂ living in the occupied territories to apply for working visas.
Previously, individualsÂ who only held Palestinian identification documents, and not passports, were unable to apply to work in Qatar. It is not always possible for Palestinians to obtain passports within the occupied territories and these passports are not always recognized by foreign governments.
Although the new deal began in January of last year, it remains unclear how many of the 20,000 visas have actually been issued. The Palestinian ambassador to Qatar, Munir Ghannam, did howeverÂ tellÂ Doha News that Palestinians had come to the embassy and explained that they have come through the new deal.
Unemployment in the occupied territories hovers aroundÂ 25 percent and thus Qatar now serves as a great option for Palestinian residentsÂ seeking employment abroad.
Ghannam explained, â€œThe door is open for Palestinians to come to Qatar, according to the needs of the labor market. Unemployment in Palestine is very high. The Palestinians need work where they can find it.â€
Like other GCC countries, Qatar restricts the number of foreign hires from a particular country with a quota system. GhannamÂ told Doha News that when he assumed his position as ambassador 10Â years ago, the quota for Palestinians wasÂ zero. Thus 20,000 serves as a rather dramatic increase.
However, the agreement only covers employment visas and does not necessarily allow for Palestinians who obtain jobs in the emirate to also bring their families.